I love to spread good news about environmental success stories. I especially loved this one since I have gone scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef myself several years ago.
Scientists used a process called "acoustic enrichment" to try to entice those fish back.
They placed loudspeakers on patches of dead coral in the Great Barrier Reef and discovered that twice as many fish arrived -- and stayed -- compared to equivalent patches where no sound was played.
How does it work?
"Healthy coral reefs are remarkably noisy places -- the crackle of snapping shrimp and the whoops and grunts of fish combine to form a dazzling biological soundscape. Juvenile fish hone in on these sounds when they're looking for a place to settle," said one of the study's authors, Steve Simpson, a professor of marine biology and global change at the University of Exeter.
"Reefs become ghostly quiet when they are degraded, as the shrimps and fish disappear, but by using loudspeakers to restore this lost soundscape, we can attract young fish back again."
Not only did the amount of fish double in number with the underwater speakers but the diversity in the number of species went up by 50%.
Because each species plays a part in recovery it is encouraging to have that diversity along with the numbers.